Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Twin lambs born - one white, one black

ONE'S black, one's white and they have amazed their owners.

Salt and Pepper are twins, born to a ewe, which is white and a ram, which is a sussex breed, sporting a black face, legs and bottom.

Jan Cowan, who has just begun building a flock on the family property in the Manning Valley on the NSW mid-north coast to make sheep cheese, said yesterday that the twins born a week-and-a-half ago were inseparable, The Daily Telegraph reports.

"We have them in a pen next to the house because of the foxes," Mrs Cowan said.

"They play together, they sleep together with one resting its head on the other.

"If one goes one way the other will follow. They take a teat each, side-by-side of each other when feeding."

Mrs Cowan said a local vet who helped deliver the twins had told her their being born with different colouring was a very rare event.

But the Cowans may not have a black sheep in the family for long.

Bob Murray, NSW branch president of the Black and Coloured Sheep Breeders Association of Australia, said nature could still intervene despite years of selective breeding to produce sheep with white wool.

"Put simply, the genes which ensure white wool are dominant over the genes which produce the darker wool," he said.

"But sometimes the dark gene sneaks in and takes over, and if you have a dark-woolled ram and a white-woolled ewe, there's a 50 per cent chance you'll get one of each.

"And in sussex sheep it's not uncommon to get lambs which are all dark when born.

"But when they are about six months old they will lose that darkness and look like other sussexes with the dark face, legs and backside and white body."


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